The sun readies for its close-up as Europe’s Solar Orbiter approaches

The European Solar Orbiter mission will make its closest approach to the sun later this month, promising to capture images that could unravel some of the mysterious behaviours of the star at the heart of our solar system.

Solar Orbiter, a European Space Agency (ESA) mission with a contribution from NASA, launched in February 2020. It caused a stir already during its first close approach to the sun in June 2020 when  the spacecraft’s imagers captured never before seen phenomena on the sun’s surface, the miniature solar flares nicknamed the campfires